I recently was able to share a part of myself I normally never talk about with a friend. Opening myself up is not always easy for me. I’m pretty outspoken generally; friends who know me well know I’m not shy about sharing my opinions. But sharing your opinions and being truly open aren’t the same thing. It’s much easier to be outspoken than it is to be vulnerable. I’m always choosing which parts of myself to reveal. I also have occasional problems with tact. I’m continuing to work on that, but I don’t always know what will offend someone else. I often feel like I see the world differently than other people.
Chris and I have been watching a new TV drama called “The Bridge.” Diane Kruger’s character plays a cop who must have Asperger’s, or something similar. She doesn’t behave or react normally; at times she seems inhuman. There was a scene tonight in which her partner had gotten the receptionist flowers for her birthday, and tells her that the flowers are from him and Kruger’s character. Kruger is baffled and uncomfortable. She’s extremely literal, and doesn’t understand why he would have done that. “But it’s not true,” she said, shocked. He tells her sometimes you tell white lies to make someone else feel better. She’s such a by-the-book person; she usually seems to be following an instruction manual. She couldn’t wrap her mind around the notion that a lie could be a good thing.
I can be a bit like that. I’m not as out there as Kruger’s character, but I can sympathize with some of her issues. I tend to be honest at all costs, unless I have a really exceptional reason not to be. There was a period in my life before I got sober where I had to lie a lot. The lies became so elaborate that even I had trouble recognizing where they ended and the truth began. When I finally extricated myself from the situation, I made the conscious decision to try to be honest at all times. Even now, I rarely tell little white lies. That said, there are a few things I almost never talk about, and for me to decide to trust someone with one is a big deal. Afterward I feel a mixture of panic and relief… and the panic doesn’t subside until I’m convinced that the person is still going to see me the same way they did before I opened up. It can take awhile, and I sometimes need additional reassurance. Still, there is definite relief in taking off the mask. To have a few people in your life for whom no editing is required is a precious thing. The value is incalculable. I do have a handful, and I’m trying to expand that number. It’s a slow process, but sometimes slow is good. The things that matter most, take time.